Get That Mouse Out Of The House

In cool weather, mice will migrate into buildings and other structures to stay warm. They don't care if the building is a run down garden shed or your new home. Once inside, they will settle into their daily routine of nest building, maintenance, and finding food sources. If you see one mouse in your house, you can bet there are more nearby. Here are the signs of an active mouse colony in your house and how to get rid of them.

Lots of Mouths to Feed

The number of mice in a nest grows quickly. One female can deliver up to six pups every three weeks and nearly three dozen mice in one year. You can try to trap the mice yourself, but they may breed faster than you can get rid of them. If you find yourself constantly resetting traps after a couple of weeks, you'll need the help of a professional pest control service to keep up with the mice.

Looking for the Signs of Mice

If you think you've seen a mouse dart into a closet as you walked into a room, it's time to go on a hunting expedition to find the rest of the nest. Mice can crawl through very small openings. They will jump and climb to get to their favorite locations. Your search needs to include potential nesting areas from floor to ceiling.

Check kitchen cupboards and cabinets, book shelves, the top shelves of closets, and on top of entertainment centers. Mice do prefer places that are dark and quiet, which makes the upper shelf of a closet in a shoe box a good spot.

To find the mice, look out for:

  • dark, rice-sized droppings
  • chew marks on wood, paper and cardboard
  • shredded linen and clothing for the fibers mice need for their nests
  • dirty paw prints on the floor
  • urine stains on the floor

Trapping Mice

If you decide to try to trap the mice, the process is simple, but you'll need to continue it until you see no mice in traps for several days. Here are some tips for effectively trapping mice.

  • Put out several traps following any path through the house that you suspect the mice favor.
  • Use gloves or wash your hands before touching a trap so you don't leave your scent on it.
  • Remove any traps that have caught a mouse as soon as you can. Other mice will avoid an area where a dead mouse body is present.
  • Wear gloves to remove a mouse from a trap. They can pass parasites onto you when you handle the body.
  • Continue setting traps in an area until you no longer catch mice there for several days. Mice may avoid an area for a few days after you remove a trap, then start using that path again.

The Pest Control Approach

If you're overwhelmed by mice, it's time to turn the task of getting rid of them over to a pest control company. They will find the nest and remove it with any mice inside. The service will spray the house's foundation to prevent mice from coming back into the property. They will also advise you as to how to secure food sources away from the hungry mice. With the nest and food sources gone, any remaining mice will soon move out of your house.